GROUNDED with QB Vincent Espinoza
In March, the Iowa Barnstormers players and coaches were traveling to their first game on the road, while the staff was busy in Des Moines finalizing details to welcome fans to Wells Fargo Arena for the home opener the following week. Reports of Covid-19’s rapid spread were covering the news channels, causing worry for what was to come of the 2020 season.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, businesses began closing their doors and concerts and sporting events were postponed or canceled. The Indoor Football League was given no choice but to halt the season for the safety of the teams, staffs, and fans.
The Iowa Barnstormers were not able to take off, the season was grounded, and as quarantine swept across the nation so were the players, coaches, and staff.
Vincent Espinoza joined the Iowa Barnstormers for his rookie season at Quarterback in 2020, experiencing his first Training Camp and earning his place on the final roster. With the season ending before it began, Espinoza's professional football debut was put on hold.
“With this being my first year competing on a professional level I was ready to ball, especially coming out of camp,” said Espinoza. “During camp I dialed in on the details and went out to practice right after lifting at six in the morning to help my body go through the longevity of being in a state of fatigue. I was getting better every day and I had no doubt in my mind. It was truly unfortunate.”
As a rookie, Espinoza was ready to learn and grow throughout the 2020 season. He was coached through the team’s two-week Training Camp, earning a place on the final roster and getting a full week of game practice in before the season’s abrupt end.
“This is an entirely new game of football and I learned a lot. With the help of my teammates and coaches at practice, I was able to adapt very quickly with more to learn of course. I treat every day like there is something new to learn. A specific thing I helped improve was timing and reading the different defenses, Coach Ismail was coming full throttle.”
With his new understanding of the indoor game, Espinoza has been able to focus on training during quarantine.
“I immediately started training the following Monday coming home and kept at it. I went through explosive training for some months with one of my mentors, Darren Garcia. The explosive training helped tune up my athleticism and keep my speed up to par. Then I transferred back to my original strength and conditioning coach, Lamar Grier, and focused on maintaining my strength and controlling the weights. Then I combined both.”
While training has kept Espinoza busy throughout quarantine, he has found time for other opportunities as well.
“I have been elevating my career as a full time streamer for Twitch, continuing to grow a community with people of all ages who come to the channel to learn or just to chat. I have had set schedules during this whole time being back home where I train and stream and I am also improving in video editing and uploading to YouTube.”
With a passion for gaming, Espinoza jumped on the opportunity to share this with others and start streaming following his collegiate football career. His stream mostly consists of Call of Duty with his dedication to playing landing him in the top 1% of the game. While Espinoza is excicted to be able to share something he has loved his whole life, he noted that building a community is what interests him the most in streaming.
"Building a community of different people from across the world that stop by and love my gameplay is what keeps me going. I'm still growing my channel, so a lot more people are starting to notice that I am up and coming. I have also learned to market myself in a different way and reach out to new people."
Quarantine has also given Espinoza time to sharpen up new skills and learn new hobbies, in addition to video editing he has learned how to build computers and has done some work remodeling his home.
“I have learned a lot about myself. I am more capable of doing things that I thought were hard, I can push my body even harder, I am focusing on meditating more so I can keep my spiritual aspect up to par.”
Keeping his focus on football and personal growth, Espinoza looks forward to returning to Des Moines and finally making his debut as an Iowa Barnstormer emphasizing that he is most excited to return because of the positive atmosphere.
“It was nothing but great vibes from the coaches to the staff, everybody was showing love. The practices were great, the fire in competition was up in the air. Coach makes practice as competitive as possible but also makes everybody feel loose which is a great thing.”
Espinoza will re-enter Training Camp in the Spring, this time for the 2021 season.
“I plan to continue to train and get better every day, continue to be coachable, and prove that I can help lead the Barnstormers to another successful season.”
QUICKFIRE: QUARANTINE EDITION
What shows did you binge?
What are your favorite quarantine snacks?
Did you bake any kind of bread in quarantine?
Did you learn any TikTok dances? What ones?
What is the most creative workout you did?
Did you build anything during quarantine?
Written by: Juli Pettit
Browse by Month »